Finished Projects


SuLaMa: Participatory Research to Support Sustainable Land management on the Mahafaly Plateau in Southwestern Madagascar 

On the Mahafaly Plateau, like in many other developing countries, land-use decisions are driven by (short-term) economic considerations which result in non-sustainable forms of land-use like, e.g. slash-and-burn agriculture and over-harvesting of forest products. These non-sustainable forms of land use diminish the supply of ecosystem functions and ecosystem services, which are valuable for the local land users and on a global scale. Economic development and the provision of ecosystem services could go hand in hand if local land users in Madagascar were adequately rewarded for land use that provides ecosystem services. Against this background the economic work package in the interdisciplinary SuLaMa project has the following aims: (1) Development of a cost-effective and locally accepted "payments for ecosystem services" (PES) scheme which rewards land users for the provision of ecosystem services in close collaboration with local stakeholders.(2) Analysis of the existing organisations and institutions in the study region in terms of their potential for institutional change to implement a PES scheme. (3) An economic analysis of farm/household decisions in order to (i) understand the drivers and motivation of the current behaviour of land users and (ii) to evaluate the economic effects of proposed measures for more sustainable land use. 
 SuLaMa Homepage


SOKO Bio: Software-based decision support tool for determining cost-effective compensation payments for conservation measures in a changing environment
In order to stimulate biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes, programmes have been developed (e.g. in the context of agri-environmental schemes) with which farmers are compensated for carrying out agricultural activities in a biodiversity-enhancing manner. An important requirement for the design of such programmes is that they are cost-effective, i.e. that for existing financial resources the conservation output is maximised. The aim of the SOKO Bio project is to develop a software-based decision support tool based on an ecological-economic modelling procedure to design cost-effective compensation payments for measures to conserve endangered grassland species in the German Federal States of Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein. The software shall be able to (I) estimate the effects of selected measures on endangered grassland species in the two federal states for varying budgets, (II) estimate the cost-effectiveness of existing or planned compensation programmes and (III) define management objective functions (e.g. survival probability of various selected species) and maximise them for selected budgets.
SOKO Bio Homepage


CASPER: Cost-effectiveness of Agri-environment Schemes for Biodiversity Protection and Ecosystem Service Restoration

In the CASPER project, a software tool (Ecopay, developed in the SOKO Bio project) to design cost-effective payments to compensate farmers for measures to conserve endangered species in grasslands is applied in three regions in Flanders, Belgium. The project is carried out in cooperation with the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) and the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO). The software is adapted to the specific conditions of the region and the necessary regional data are integrated in the software.


EcoTRADE: Market-based instruments for cost-effective biodiversity conservation

The European cultural landscape is witnessing an increasing conflict between demands for economic development and needs for ecosystem and biodiversity conservation. A sustainable strategy is therefore crucial to accommodate for the needs of present and future generations. The EcoTRADE project examined the applicability and impacts of tradable permits as an instrument for a flexible biodiversity management (also often referred to as conservation banking). Research in EcoTRADE was carried out in an interdisciplinary group of ecologists, economists and modellers. EcoTRADE was one of the projects in the EuroDIVERSITY programme of the European Science Foundation (ESF), and was funded by the Dutch and German Science Organisations (NWO and DFG) for the period 2006-2009.
EcoTRADE Homepage

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